A study conducted by the University of Colorado Cancer Center and published in EurekAlert! shows that while 93 percent of oncologists surveyed believe that CBD Oil products benefit cancer patients, only 46 percent of them have a prescription for medical cannabis.
The main concerns were about appropriate dosage, limited knowledge about available products and how to get them, as well as possible interactions with other drugs.
“I think we lack useful tools in some cases,” says Ashley E. Glode, PharmD, Assistant Professor at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science and the main author of the study.
The survey was conducted among 48 specialized oncologists, 47 doctors, 53 registered nurses and 17 pharmacists. 89% of those surveyed said that medical cannabis education and training programs could help physicians decide whether to prescribe medical marijuana or cannabis-based medicinal products.
Interestingly, 68% of the respondents received cannabis information from their patients, followed by information media (reported by 55% of respondents) and other sources (53%).
Respondents also raised legal concerns, especially those working in academic medical centers who were unsure whether the prescription of medical cannabis was lawful (according to federal law, cannabis is a schedule 1 drug).
Doctors believe that additional data from clinical trials describing the efficacy of medical cannabis and approved guidelines describing the conditions and situations in which it should be used would increase their convenience in prescribing.
“But the biggest problem oncologists have seen is the lack of certainty about the dosage,” says Glode. “The problem is that cannabis is not standardized – pharmacies with medical cannabis can determine that the product has a certain amount of THC and a certain amount of CBD, but no one is sure about the concentration of cannabinoids. – says Ashley E. Glode, the main author of the study.
“Limited data suggests that patients should start with a low dose, no more than 10 mg THC, but we don’t know what they’ll actually get in return. From a consumption perspective, smoking is the least preferred option because of possible lung damage (studies confirm that even long-term cannabis smoking has no effect on lung function – editorial note). Many physicians recommend food products, oils and liquids, but there’s still no good data comparing the dosage in these forms.
The main author of the study, Ashley E. Glode wants to expand the survey to gather more data from a larger group of doctors.
“The problem is knowledge,” says Glode. “If we could better educate our doctors, marijuana could be prescribed more often and used safely.